I was reading an article about a new vehicle Ford was adding to it's production facility in Missouri. The article itself is a rather good one; explaining that Ford will be adding the 'Transit' to it's line-up and, in the process, adding a few thousand more union jobs. After the article, I went on to read some of the reader comments. One reader expressed her understandable frustrations regarding 'free trade' saying, "THINK how many jobs we would have in this country but for the fraud of "free" trade!" with several others supporting her concerns. Then one wrote in response to some people who had 'disapproved' of her comments, "How did 2 people give a thumbs down to this? Do they like what has happened to this country over the past 35 years?" to which one person answered, "No but they do hate what unions have done to this country over the past 35 years" and another person replied, "Blaming free trade agreements is not understanding economics".
I responded as follows...
"Lynn, "free trade" is not "fair trade"; American workers are often at a significant competitive disadvantage because of all our 'pesky' labor laws like the safety laws that are enforced by OSHA so that our workplaces are safer and child labor laws so kids aren't used as cheap labor instead of getting educations, minimum wage laws to guide us away from developing a permanent, indentured servitude society, environmental regulation laws so that our environment is less adversely affected and the many other laws from which we American workers benefit. When American workers who have the benefit of these laws and regulations compete "freely" with workers in other countries that do not have these protections or have fewer/less effective laws, the other countries have an unfair advantage. So, we either need to get rid of all these laws and regulations (and race to the bottom) or we need to impose more trade barriers in order to protect our society.
Harold, unions are nothing more than collections of people who work hard for a living. Unions are the dispatchers who answer your 911 calls, unions are the police officer who protects you, unions are the teachers who teach you and your kids from preschool through college, unions make your cars, unions pick your tomatoes and process your foods, unions deliver your cement, unions provide you with safety instructions and drinks on your flights and fly the planes you're on, unions take your blood pressure at the doctor's office and process your lab work. Unions provide workers the ability to work together to counter the power wielded by the wealthy. If more people joined unions, our society would more balanced and we would have a stronger middle class. In 2013 the CEO-to-worker pay ratio was 331:1 and the CEO-to-minimum-wage-worker pay ratio was 774:1. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, a country where hard work and playing by the rules would provide working families a middle-class standard of living. But in recent decades, corporate CEOs have been taking a greater share of the economic pie while wages have stagnated and unemployment remains high.
Highly paid CEOs of low-wage employers are fueling this growing economic inequality. In 2013, CEOs of the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index companies received, on average, $11.7 million in total compensation, according to the AFL-CIO’s analysis of available data from 350 companies. I'm a proud union member and I'm sick of you guys who use me and all my fellow hard-working union brothers and sisters as scapegoats for the 1%. Join Us, Stand with Us....or get the hell out of our way!"
It would be great to see some more pro-worker support in from some of you too! -If you choose to add your two cents, you can forward your replies and I'll proudly display them here!